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GROUND TRANSPORT


HELSINKI – THE CITY WHERE MAAS ‘REALLY WORKS’


Helsinki is effectively acting as a “guinea pig” for how Mobility as a Service (MaaS) can help transform a city’s ground transport. The Finnish capital’s authorities have been


Van rental is likely to be available on MaaS services


working for eight years on ways to change its transport infrastructure to reduce the use of private cars around the city, with the ambitious target of making it “unneces- sary” for residents to own their own car by 2025. One of the key ele-


manage? Does MaaS have the potential to take the pain out of this part of the end-to-end business trip? Paul Wait, commercial director at B2B mobility plat-


form iGo, says: “This will open a whole host of opportuni- ties when it comes to planning and managing trips. “It will create cost and time savings for businesses, which can more efficiently plan business trips, as well as offering smoother commutes to employees. Individuals will be able to manage their journeys while en route – companies will just need to ensure the platform is in place to make this happen.” Groundscope’s chief executive John McCallion believes the key to the future success of MaaS platforms is to ensure business travellers “feel confident that the service booked will work and get them to that critical meeting or flight on time”.


SINGLE PAYMENT CHANNEL Those in the traditional ground transport industry also see the benefits of adopting a MaaS-based system, offer- ing simplicity in how and where travellers can choose the most appropriate service and also allowing payment through a single platform. Craig Chambers, group chief executive of TBR Global Chauffeuring adds: “MaaS can offer a number of benefits and value, primarily providing access to a single applica- tion to provide access to mobility, with a single payment channel instead of multiple ticketing and payment operations. “For its users, MaaS should be the best-value propo- sition, by helping them meet their mobility needs and solve the inconvenient parts of individual journeys, as well as the entire system of mobility services.”


buyingbusinesstravel.com


ments of this strategy has been the creation of a MaaS app, called Whim, which offers a range of transport packages, including buses, trams, bike hire, taxis and rental cars around Helsinki. Three different payment packages are


available, including an “unlimited package” for €499 per month allowing unrestricted travel on public transport, city bikes, taxis, rental cars and car sharing. There is also another cheaper monthly


package for €62 allowing unlimited bus travel and bike rides, as well as a “pay as you go” option. The Whim app asks users to enter their


destination and then calculates the optimal route taking into account the various transport options available. So far, Whim has more than 45,000 sub-


scribers who have taken more than 1.5 million trips in Helsinki since the app launched in 2016. The app also operates in the Belgian city of Antwerp and has a presence in the West Midlands, where it is supported by National Express, Gett and Enterprise. MaaS Global, the company that created


Whim, now wants to expand into new markets after securing €9 million in funding earlier this year. Sampo Hietanen, founder and chief execu-


tive of MaaS Global, says: “We are extremely happy that we have been able to prove the MaaS concept really works. Now we are able to strengthen our global presence and keep on being the forerunner in this new and exciting industry.”


2019 JULY/AUGUST 75


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